By now the brouhaha over this morning's "Photo-op" flyover of lower Manhattan by the backup Air Force One and some F-16s, is old news. For those not familiar with the event, here's a good summary:
"An Air Force One lookalike, the backup plane for the one regularly used by the president, flew low over parts of New York and New Jersey on Monday morning, accompanied by two F-16 fighters, so Air Force photographers could take pictures high above the New York harbor.
But the exercise — conducted without any notification to the public — caused momentary panic in some quarters and led to the evacuation of several buildings in Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. By the afternoon, the situation had turned into a political fuse box, with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg saying that he was “furious” that he had not been told in advance about the flyover.
At 4:39 p.m. Monday, the White House issued an apology for the flyover. Louis E. Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, who served in the Clinton administration as secretary of the Army, said in a statement:
Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision. While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.
The plane apparently flew pretty low, by some accounts as low as 500 feet, over several prominent buildings:
Here's what it looked and sounded like from the ground:
Several questions obviously still remain unanswered (Updated):
1. What exactly was this "photo-op", and why was it so important to be done in this manner?
This report from CBS explains:
2. Why use the backup to AirForce One, one very customized Boeing 747 that's obviously pretty expensive to operate?
3. If those who orchestrated this event thought they had done all the communicating with various authorities, what did they think would happen when these planes flew over lower Manhattan on a Monday morning?
4. Did they think eight years is long enough for people not to be spooked by something like this?
Hope we get some answers to these and other questions soon.